In our home, we are looking forward to the Summer Olympics which will be held in London, July 27-Aug. 12. We look forward to the opening ceremonies with the kind of eagerness reserved for special occasions.
The U.S. team will be sporting red, white and blue fashions designed by Ralph Lauren. Classic navy blazers for men with white slacks, ladies in white skirts and blue blazers finished off with a grand scarf. Both men and women will be topped off with a smart beret reflecting back to Gatsby's America. The U.S. uniforms are stunning and with the fit figures that will be wearing them, they will make an elegant statement. Their crispness makes us think of yachting, prep schools, mahogany boats and the Fourth of July. Ralph Lauren is way beyond a budding talent, so we would expect nothing less.
It will also be worth our while to check on the designs that Stella McCartney created for Great Britain. Not be outdone, Team Italy has Giorgio Armani. It will be the best block party of fashions which you can enjoy from your armchair.
Once the opening ceremonies are complete, their impression of color and style will remain in our memory. A few years ago when I had a flight on British Air, the female flight attendants greeted the passengers at the door with a grand hat! Now how is that for making an impression? They did remove them once they began to service the cabin, but nevertheless, the Brits certainly have a touch of class that is graceful by any measure.
Out of all the summer games that will be played, it will be badminton to which we take a fancy in our home. What a brilliant idea someone had when they decided to introduce one of the most dynamic Olympic sports - badminton. Badminton made its full Olympic debut at Barcelona in 1992. If I were a bit younger, I may have tried out for the American team. After all, some of my moves in front of the Underwood Laundromat were not bad! Currently, Asian countries are dominant. Representatives from China, Indonesia and Korea have won 23 of the 24 medals since the sport made its first appearance at the games.
Lydia and I often enjoy games of badminton on our lawn - with a make-believe net if we are in a hurry! I have seen great vintage photos of young couples in Victorian dress playing indoor badminton. In my book, that is about as beaming as the waltz of the summertime flowers.
Badminton has all the elements for a perfect sport. It can be played indoors or outdoors, dressed up or dressed down. Yet as you run to hit the shuttlecock or bend to pick up a landed one, you are getting just enough exercise.
I do realize that on the Olympic level, badminton is a fast and dynamic sport. Players need to be incredibly fit, have lightning quick reactions and excellent judgment. With that being said, we will leave that style of badminton to the Olympic team.
Here in Rugby, Lydia hits a shuttlecock over the net to engage me. If my hips and legs move fast enough, I return the shuttlecock so that it cannot be returned over the net within the boundary lines. I usually do this just once or twice so that Lydia can actually learn the official rules. Being the sweetheart that she is, she replies, "Oh, good one, Dad."
With her hair bouncing about and her girly twirl as she serves the shuttlecock, I get to experience the executive privilege of an engaged father. At times, we make it to three games and the score of 21, the combination of which makes it official. Then it is time for a homemade lemonade break. With that in mind, you can see that badminton has a bright future at our home and the Olympics. So take a few moments to enjoy the summer Olympic Games and the fine style of our neighbors across the pond. You will find that the good things in life never really change.
While traveling in London a few years ago I was introduced to lettuce soup. Now don't turn up your nose just yet! This may sound boring - even dreary - but I assure you, it is always a champion. So "lettuce" begin!
1 pound lettuce
1 medium onion
4 medium potatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 pint of chicken stock or more
2 teaspoons butter
Bouquet garni (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper
1/2 pint of milk
Wash and shred the lettuce. Prepare and slice the onion and potatoes. Skin and crush the garlic. Heat the stock to a boiling point and pour over the lettuce. Melt the butter in a deep saucepan and add the potatoes, onion and garlic. Fry them gently for 10 minutes. Add the lettuce, stock and bouquet garni and seasonings to taste. Heat to boiling point and simmer gently for 2 minutes until the lettuce is tender. Remove the bouquet garni. Put the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the milk, reheat and add extra seasoning and sugar to taste. Make 4 servings.
Mix the following and tie in cheesecloth. You may select to add the amount your taste buds enjoy. This is a winning combination at our home.
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2 Tablespoons dried bay leaf
2 Tablespoons dried rosemary